Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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Hard Drive not recognized by system during boot or install

I have a one and a half year old 13" MacBook Pro with the 2.26Ghz processor that just last night stopped recognizing the hard drive. It worked before dinner for my wife and when she returned to it after dinner, it was powered down. Upon powering it on, at the gray screen the folder alerting it could not see a boot device appeared.

I opened the case to pull the hard drive figuring it was a complete hard drive failure however after connecting to a spare Linux machine I was able to dump the contents of the entire drive and SMART shows no errors.

I had a spare hard drive from another older Macbook that I connected to the failed MacBook pro and inserted the Snow Leopard install disk. The installer does not see either hard drive at this point to either pick it for installation or from the Disk Utility available in the installer environment.

I launched System profiler and it does see an nVidia SATA controller, it does not list any hard drive devices from it though.

What should I do? I do not have Applecare on this and it is six months past the one year warranty.

Edit: Sorry, hit the submit far too early by accident. Full details are now posted.

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I have back tracked the EFI under recommendation to 1.6. The hard disks are still not seen in the system install nor disk utility.

I also booted an Ubuntu livecd on the system. Disk Utility does not recognize a hard drive either.

Because I can still see the SATA controller (both in System Profiler on the Snow Leopard install disk and in the Ubuntu 10.04 LiveCD), I'm assuming the disk controller isn't broken and ordered a replacement SATA drive cable.

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Replacing the sata/ir/power led cable fixed the issue. There were no visible issues with the bad cable after further inspection.

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That's great, glad you solved it.

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Boot up from your system installation disk by holding down the "C" key. Go to the second screen pull down menu to Utilities -> Disk Utility and format the drive. and give it one partition. If the drive is an old one I would select the "write zeros" option to map out any bad blocks. This takes a while but will eliminate future problems. It's probably not seen because it needs to be formatted GUID. Now you should be able to install a system.

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I can not format the drive. The drive is not visible in the Disk Utility as I stated:

"The installer does not see either hard drive at this point to either pick it for installation or from the Disk Utility available in the installer environment."

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I was very worried when you said you could not see the controller. Cable failure is very rare but will hopefully solve the problem.

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This is the exact problem my son's friend had with his MBP. An Apple Tech acquaintance suggested it was the hard drive, but since I could Target Disk Mode his files to my Mac Mini, I really didn't think so. I changed it anyway, with no luck.

I did a lot of googling, and decided it was the hard drive cable. Used the excellent help found here, and installed a new one. It works!

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Well Jackie, it shouldn't have worked. If it saw it in Target Mode changing the cable should not have mattered. Reseating the cable is probably what worked ;-)

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I had reseated the cable several times. In theory, you are right, but I assumed that maybe just one wire was broken in the part. Or maybe I was just lucky it worked at the time I needed to save his files.

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My daughter's 15" Mac book pro fell and was hit by a chair. The hard drive was unable to be repaired with the utility and I bought a new bigger drive as replacement ~$80. Mac store wanted $250 to replace the drive, duh. I replaced the drive with the new drive but it was not seen by the cpu but when I attached it using a SATA conversion cable to a USB port it was operational as expected. I replaced the hard drive cable as others here have and it fixed the problem. I just reinstalled the new hard drive internally with the new cable and it was done.

This thread was invaluble to me diagnosing the problem. Thanks all.

Charles

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Raylen will be eternally grateful.
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